Adam Mattiussi is a great up and coming 77kg lifter from England. His best result in competition was a 131kg snatch and a 165kg clean and jerk at the 2014 Under 23 European Championships. This peformance ranked him 7th in the competition. He has a degree in Strength and Conditioning Science from St Mary’s University and is studying for a postgraduate degree in Sports Rehabilitation. Here we discuss how he got started, how he worked around injuries, touch briefly on the Britain system and much more.
- It looks like you started lifting around 2010. You certainly have achieved great results in a short time. So, how did you get started in weightlifting? What attracted you to this sport?
Yes, September 2010 when I first started my undergraduate degree in strength and conditioning science. One of our modules was learning how to weightlift and then being assessed on our technique and Sinclair in a mini informal competition at the end of the semester. I knew of weightlifting before but I didn’t know of any coaches local to me. Once I started that was it, I’ve never looked back.
- Did you practice other sports before that? If so, did they transfer well into your lifting?
Yes I I’ve always been pretty active. When I was young I used to skateboard. Later on at school I played basketball and rugby. It’s hard to tell if they contributed to my lifting. I wish I had got into weightlifting earlier.
- Who was your coach? Any insight into how your training was at that time?
My first coach was a lecturer of mine, Daniel Cleather. He got me started and coached me for the first three months of my career. After this I met Kazem Panjavi who at the time was the university weightlifting club coach. He’s been my coach ever since. My training at the time wasn’t very exciting, lots of volume, lots of exercises and lots of variety. If I remember correctly I was training 4/5 times a week at that point.
- Your first international competition was the U23 Europeans where you did very well. I am told you hit PRs on that day as well. How did you prepare for this meet?
Thank you! Yes, 1kg in the snatch and 5kg in the C&J. My preparation was a bit of a rollercoaster ride as I’ve been struggling with bilateral shoulder impingement since June this year. I’ve been mainly squatting and pulling as anything overhead hurt. I managed to put 20kg on my back squat during this time though so that definitely helped! I started actually weightlifting every session about 4-5 weeks out.
- How long was your preparation for this meet? Did it all go according to plan?
My preparation started unofficially in August, as this was when I qualified, although I was yet to be selected. This gave me roughly eight weeks to prepare. As I mentioned before I was carrying the shoulder injuries so I just took a bunch of painkillers and pushed through as best I could.
- Can you talk to us about your experience at that international competition? How did it feel to step on that big stage?
It was incredible. You might have seen if you watched any of the links that there wasn’t much of a crowd but that didn’t matter to me. Just being at an international like that gave enough of an atmosphere. Everything kind of goes blank once you step up onto the stage and it’s all about the lift.
- I am also told that you tried qualifying for the Commonwealth games. What happened there?
Yeah, a long story short I qualified twice but unfortunately was not selected. The strongest team was selected and I was very proud to be part of the squad in the build up. I will be sure to be in that team in 2018.
- At the moment, England is quite famous for its female lifters, including Zoe Smith and Rebekah Tyler. It looks like male lifters are getting very good as well – with you, Jack Oliver, Sonny Webster amongst others. I am curious about the British scene. Are there many clubs? Are athletes supported by the state/sponsors? Are there frequent training camps?
Yes I think so. As the female team is funded by UK sport I think they have regular camps now. British Weightlifting generally holds separate camps for the men and women.
- I read on your twitter that you studied strength and conditioning science. Personally, I studied Kinesiology and I feel like I learned many things that I apply in my practice as a coach. You defended the application of weightlifting for other sports in a presentation (dynamic correspondence for sport performance). Are you looking to get into coaching as well?
Yes definitely, I’ve been coaching since I first started the course in 2010. I have been lucky enough to work with a variety of individual and team sports from university level to premiership rugby clubs. I love coaching and can see myself doing it for a very long time.
10. Whats your master topic?
It’s generally specific to that point in time and any constraints that I may have. Due to my shoulders being injured its heavily focused on squatting and pulling, as I can’t really lift. In the build up to the Commonwealth Games It was a specific high intensity phase focusing on the full lifts and trying to be consistent over 90%. Last year it was more volume based. I try and change things as and when I see fit.
12. When you think of the snatch or clean and jerk, what technique elements are the most important to focus on?
For me leading with the chest in the snatch is critical as it sets up the remainder of the lift. After this I just focus on an explosive second pull and full extension. In the clean its very similar but I think about catching the bounce and driving out of the hole more. The jerk it’s probably more about holding the position in the dip and drive. I think once you have your footwork consistent you shouldn’t over think it.
13. What do you feel is the most under rated exercise in weightlifting? What about the most over rated exercise?
A difficult question… I really like snatch high pulls. I know a lot of coaches and athletes don’t as is encourages pulling with the arms. However, they have really helped my lifting and I use them a lot in coaching too. I’m not a massive fan of lifting from the hang above the knee. I do it, and I use it in my coaching, especially with novice lifters. I prefer block work though.
14. What are your goals for the New Year? Any meet you are preparing for?
Trying to get my shoulders sorted is priority number one. Also I’ve not been able to lift much recently as the workload of my MSc is keeping me very busy. So lots of squatting and pulling are in store. The English Championships are coming up in February so I plan on lifting in that if my shoulders will permit me to do so.
15. What would help the UK achieve higher results in your opinion?
If I am completely honest I think more money would go a long way to helping the UK in terms of lifting as well as increasing participation. We just don’t have enough lifters and the lifters that we do have train in their own respective gyms. A high performance centre where everyone could train together full time would create a great environment for our lifters to continually improve.
16. Thank you very much! Any final word?
Thank you! If anyone wants to follow my training they can find my athlete page on Facebook!